France:

Feeding of the 400

In secular France it’s hard to be a Christian. BMS World Mission is bringing young people together, helping them find community and spiritual nourishment. But the country still needs our prayers.

Around 400 young Christians descended upon the city of Poitiers, 150 miles north of Bordeaux, this weekend, ready to worship God at an event called Connexion 2017. For many, this was the largest gathering of Christians they had ever been a part of. Young people from all over France were here to praise God and grow in their faith. One girl came completely on her own, and many others came in groups of only five. There was laughter. There were tears. But most of all, there was a sense of family. A sense of belonging.

Lead speaker teaching at Connexion 2017

It’s lonely to be a Christian in France. In one of the most secular countries in the world, it’s difficult for people to find others who share their faith. “Young people are often the only ones in the classroom who are Christians,” says Benjamin, a 20-something French man. “With an event like this, we know we are not alone and we can worship the Lord together.” Connexion creates a safe place for Christians to express their love for Christ, without fear of mockery, and gain spiritual sustenance for when they return home.

Sue Wilson, a BMS worker in Paris, has run Connexion since 2015 with a small group of volunteers as part of her work with the French Baptist Federation. It’s really important, she says, that young people meet up with each other. “Often churches have small youth groups, so an event like this lets Christians connect with one another and worship God.” Through your support for BMS, this weekend you helped to show young French Christians that they are not alone.

Sue Wilson giving an update and a flavour of what it was like to be at Connexion 2017.

In Britain, youth festivals are common, with a wide variety to choose from. In France, this is not the case. Events like these are rare. A weekend like Connexion inspires, empowers and encourages young Baptists in France. It lets them find community and helps them learn more about what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

A youth group
BMS workers Rosemary Halliday and Christine Kling with some of the youth group from Massy

The 400 young Christians at Connexion this weekend shows there is hope for Christianity in secular France. But the country needs our prayers.

Pray for the youth in France, that as they gather at events like these, they would be impacted and inspired.

Pray for boldness for French Christians to share the gospel despite hostility.

Pray for church plants across the nation, for wisdom, creativity and open doors.

And pray for more people to be transformed by the love of Jesus.

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